What are your accomplishments over 2022 saying to you? As we were looking back over the year, we felt that while it’s interesting to look at year-on-year achievements, it’s more useful to put them in the context of what’s happened over the past decade.

In 2012, Facebook bought Instagram for 1 billion dollars. Barack Obama was re-elected president of the United States and Vladimir Putin was elected president of Russia. We didn’t yet have a Paris agreement on tackling climate change and Great Britain was still part of the European Union. Scientists discovered some novel coronavirus and nobody panicked. In Qatar, none of the Football World Cup stadiums had been built.

Oh, and… smartocto didn’t exist as a company either - until three years later.

Ten years ago, broadcasters and publishers worldwide knew that they had to transform into online companies somehow. Maybe a couple of them were using Google Analytics to improve their online strategy, but not many editors were actively using data tools. Here’s a list of 10 popular tools in 2012 that helped get insights of visitor’s behaviour.

Since then, editorial analytics have developed from simple pageview trackers towards tools that give actionable notifications that help editors directly in their journalistic work. In 2022, smartocto launched these features:

The common thread: Artificial Intelligence

If we go back in time, back to 2012, we can see that artificial intelligence was already a buzzing phenomenon in universities. But who’d have thought that editorial tools in 2022 would have a base in AI? Smartify is our revolutionary decision making system that gives newsrooms AI-powered advice. Our clients already use it to find out what actions they need to take to improve their websites and apps. At the same time, look at what the company Openai created this year with ChatGPT. It could be groundbreaking for any editor out there. We could talk about it in great detail, but let’s go for the ‘show, don’t tell’ approach and assign the bot to write a paragraph explaining how artificial intelligence can help journalism.

“Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to assist journalism in a variety of ways, including data analysis, content creation, fact-checking, personalization, and content moderation. AI can help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of journalism by analysing large amounts of data, generating news articles, verifying the accuracy of information, personalising content for individual users, and identifying and removing inappropriate or harmful content. However, it is important to consider the potential risks and ethical concerns that may arise as AI becomes more prevalent in the field.”

Amazing, right?

But of course, not all 2022 numbers are amazing. The corona crisis created news fatigue among a significant number of consumers. This report of the Reuters Institute claims that news fatigue is not just around COVID-19 but around politics and a range of other subjects – with the number of people actively avoiding news increasing markedly. We’re still ahead of ten years ago, but the general growth of online news platforms is gone.

Most users of smartocto, 357 newsrooms in total, are seeing a decline in visitors and activity on their websites as well. The more positive flip side to this is that the biggest publishers of the world are finding considerable success in their subscription models. The New York Times started to charge their visitors a decade ago, and now leads the way with over 8 million paying subscribers. Other publishers are also doing very well.

But the story of the New York Times is a familiar one. Our own clients prove that there are positive numbers elsewhere in the news industry.

Using our tool, clients were able to mark topics to understand what is most popular among their readers. It doesn’t give a complete oversight from all media content, but it’s showing a still of what our clients put their energy in. Maybe it’s not a surprise that the Russian attacks on Ukraine grabbed most attention.

Most covered topics:

  • Russia-Ukraine war
  • Lifestyle
  • Health
  • Politics
  • Food
  • Travel
  • Football
  • Cricket
  • Coronavirus

And of course, a further new and exciting development is the fact that clients can now flag stories based on user needs. Ten years ago, the user needs model as created by the BBC, wasn’t present at any newsroom yet. Now, it’s an approach worth paying attention to - especially as we move into the new year. Out of the six user needs, these are most used by our clients:

If you’ve noticed that the ‘Keep me on trend’ and ‘Inspire me’ user needs are absent from this list, a gold star for you. That last one in particular is especially underrated and under-utilised. It’s one to think about if you’re commissioning content in the coming weeks, as people worldwide are seeking new destinations and making new resolutions.

When it comes to inspiration, it all starts with good stories that help people feel they can create something great in the future. But progress takes time, so rather than trying to show monumental changes immediately, focus on the small steps people can take in the short term. Who knows what big change will manifest itself in the next decade?

We're looking forward to finding out!